Ocean County Press Release
(Toms River) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year the flu causes millions of illnesses and hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations. Preliminary data suggests there were estimated 24,000-62,000 flu deaths for the 2019-20 influenza season in the US.
While it is still unclear exactly what will happen this fall and winter, when there will be COVID-19 and flu at the same time, it could place a tremendous burden on our health care systems. That's why the Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) is urging everyone to do their part to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu and COVID-19. Getting a flu shot, continuing to follow social distancing measures and wearing a mask will help in mitigating the spread of both viruses.
"The influenza vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, but it does have important benefits," explained Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health. "Getting a flu shot can lower your risk of getting sick, being hospitalized or dying from flu. If you've never had a flu shot, this is certainly the year to visit one of our clinics and to get one especially with COVID-19 being another potentially deadly respiratory illness."
The OCHD just released its 2020 Influenza & Pneumonia Clinic schedule with a full set of dates to be held all over the county in its on-going effort to ensure every segment of our communities are covered. The complete schedule and other requirements can be found at www.ochd.org or on the link below;
"Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu this fall and winter," said Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. "The more people vaccinated, the more people protected. Getting a flu vaccine is something everyone can do to reduce the impact of flu. It not only will protect yourself and your community, but it will protect the medical providers on the frontlines who will continue to deal with COVID-19 and flu patients."
The following is a list of flu facts to keep in mind.
• All people 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against seasonal flu every year.
• Children younger than 6 months are at high-risk of serious flu illness but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
• Vaccination is especially important for pregnant women and people with chronic diseases.
• The flu vaccine protects against several different flu viruses (strains). Flu vaccines are updated every year to better match the viruses circulating in the public.
• Getting the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu! The vaccine is made with inactive (killed) virus strains which are not infectious.
The flu vaccine will be extremely important this season since hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices are likely to be busy caring for COVID-19 patients. Getting a flu vaccine will:
• Help conserve medical resources needed for care of COVID-19 patients.
• Help protect frontline health care and other essential workers.
• A flu vaccine is an easy way to help "flatten the curve" of flu illness.
The OCHD is also providing a general COVID-19 Information Call Hot Line for residents and clinicians to answer questions regarding the coronavirus or flu. The number is 732-341-9700 or (800)342-9738 ext. 7411. Download a vaccine information statement at CDC.Gov/Vaccines/hcp/vis.
The NJDOH (NJPIES) hotline is available for questions around the clock at 1-800-222-1222 or by dialing 2-1-1. Other related sources; for medical COVID-19 questions call 1-800-962-1253 or Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive alerts.